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Saturday, June 03, 2006

More on Snowy Hydro

Big Bill Heffernan has come out fighting after the aborted Snowy Hydro sale, calling for a referendum on handing control of all water systems to the Commonwealth, following `appalling mismanagement' by the States. One wonders if this ambitious plan is actually the brainchild of the equally ambitious Parliamentary Secretary on water issues, Malcolm Turnbull, whose desire to poke his nose into State water affairs has distinguished his time in the job. Well Bill (and Mal) - you may argue that such a plan may solve such problems as the ongoing argument between Queensland and NSW irrigators over cross-border water management, but when it comes down to it, you'll still be dealing with the same angry farmers fighting over the same rapidly dwindling water supplies. The States want to fix this problem as much as you do, and the longer you faff around refusing to fully acknowlege climate change or suggesting nuclear power is the only answer to it, the worse it's going to get.

Meanwhile, the Greens are discussing the possible launching of a bill which would require State Parliament to vote on any future sale of the Snowy Hydro (something the current State Parliament were not permitted to do), in response to the `lack of transparency' in relation to the planned sale. This seems pretty reasonable, especially as Federal Parliament was given a chance to vote on the sale.

The Federal seat of Eden Monaro, in which the Snowy Hydro lies, is particularly interesting given that it is the famous `bellwether seat' that has, since the year dot, been closely examined by soothsayers and augurs, as whichever party wins or holds it generally corresponds with whichever wins the election overall. It wouldn't be a good look for the Federal Government to lose this seat. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to note that the Federal Member for Eden Monaro, the former Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (before being usurped, again by Malcolm Turnbull) Gary Nairn participated in this vote and, despite being on nearly as small a margin as Steve Whan - and despite later lobbying the Prime Minister against the sale - supported the sale in the Parliamentary vote.

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